SourceCon Podcast: Tech Tips for Sourcing and Branding With @AaronLintz

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Apr 23, 2015
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This week on the SourceCon podcast, I spoke with Aaron Lintz about some of the advanced techniques he uses to identify and engage talent online.

Specifically, we discussed web-scraping tools like Outwit Hub,, and Kimono Labs. We also discuss a few tools and techniques Aaron has discovered (like Fliplingo) to help Commvault share their employer brand globally.

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If you want to be a guest on a future episode, send me an email.

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Podcast transcript by Speechpad.

Jeremy: Hi, this is Jeremy Roberts with the SourceCon podcast.  Every week, I’m going to be speaking with a sourcer or a recruiter in the trenches who I think is doing something a little bit above and beyond, something a little bit more advanced than what most of us are called to do on a daily basis. So this week I’m speaking with Aaron Lintz. Go ahead and introduce yourself real quick Aaron. 

Aaron: Thanks Jeremy. This is Aaron Lintz, a sourcer with CommVault Systems and I work, among other things, just helping facilitate  for our whole team in Americas, and I’m also assisting with our teams in EMEA and APAC. 

Jeremy: Very cool. Now when you say sourcer, everybody has a different definition. So I think just to kind of set the stage for our conversation, can you explain to the audience what sourcer means in CommVault Systems and what you do exactly?

Aaron: Sure, it’s the identification component, especially in the passive side for us, just identifying and qualifying candidates. We also have, I would say, an ongoing need for some positions, so that goes into a little bit more of the strategic planning that goes around pipelining, so identifying pools of candidates for future use.

Jeremy: Excellent. Now, so you say identification and engagement. So we found out last year in survey, I think it was 83% of the people who have the title of sourcer are responsible for presenting candidates that they identify and they’ve engaged with who have indicated that they’re qualified and interested and available to discuss the opportunity. So it sounds like you’re sourcing department is responsible for that. Do you actually engage with candidates or do you spend more of your time identifying and building lists of candidates for the pipeline?

Aaron: Truthfully, I’m not doing much engagement at the moment. I obviously do, dependent on volume times. Actually right now I work with a few sourcers and help us pre-identify a number of people that we feel we can obviously go to the hiring manager with, so the slate of candidates, making sure that we have ample supply on all of the positions. So I’m assisting and working with hiring managers and different teams all across the company.

Jeremy: Absolutely, now I think this is important for the audience to hear more about, so I appreciate you going into that detail. So there are sourcers who primarily identify candidates and they’re extremely technical. They build lists of candidates. They use advanced sourcing techniques that we typically only teach in the sourcing labs at SourceCon. And then there are others who are more on the engagement side. They can identify but they do more of the engagement. And typically someone like Aaron would not work for an organization that doesn’t have a pretty advanced model, because he’s building lists that they’re confident that they’re going to be able to execute against. They’re going to be able to engage those candidates. And so if you’ve got a solid team of engagement people and you can plant someone within your organization like Aaron who can do really advanced sourcing techniques to help build those lists for your sourcers and recruiters to engage, I think it’s a really wise move, but you need to be structured properly to do that.

So Aaron, let’s move forward and kind of talk about some of the things that you do that might be of interest to the audience. Now you spoke last year at SourceCon about web scraping. And so I know web scraping’s a big part of what you do. Can you define what is web scraping for those who aren’t doing it right now?

Aaron: Yeah, web scraping is just a process, I’m sure you’ve all done it, where you find a website and you go, aha, this is where they’re hiding. And you kind of uncover that one profile and maybe you, they used to call it peeling back, go back a layer or two in the URL, and try to find . . . maybe there’s a way to find all of the people. And usually there isn’t, the search function doesn’t allow you to do everything that you want to. So once you’ve found that one or two websites that you really want to target, web scraping is kind of building the process around that one website and then obviously keying in on just the data pieces that you want. So if it’s contact information, bios and obviously more information that will help you identify similar profiles, so people that you may not have ever seen that are kind of on some of these niche sites. So it’s really good just to [break in audio] a way of extracting the data and putting it into a structured process that you can later use in your outreach.

Jeremy: All right. And so if I’m not mistaken the data, once you extract it, you save it into a file, like an Excel file. All right Aaron, so I know you have explored quite a few of the tools out there for web scraping. What would you say are the top two to three tools that people may want to try?

Aaron: I guess what many would say Wit hub is the tool of choice for our industry. It works very well, but it does require a good amount of learning. It does have some neat features like the guesting tool. But for the most part, if you’re going to have a structure on just one website it works great. If you’re going to try many different websites, I find that it’s really complicated. So in talking to people who are very familiar with it, just decided that there’s got to be an easier way and found a few tools, and another tool called kimonolabs. They’re both free web-based tools, so they allow you to do some things very visually. So it’s more like a Dropbox. It’s more point and click type of . . . so anyone, especially starting out may find these much easier to use than OutWit.

Jeremy: Absolutely. Very cool. Now you’ve moved, I mean this is what we had you present about in Denver last year and it went over really well. And so you’re obviously very well versed in web scraping. So as you move forward, what are some other things that you are employing at this point that you haven’t talked about? I think you mentioned some marketing activities the other day.

Aaron: Yeah, well we’ve been working with some of the brand name components for our employment brand and just trying to build it out on a global scale. So it’s still in our early phase of this, but we wanted to encourage, and even I think one of my first posts for SourceCon was about how you could replace TweetMyJobs for free. And that’s great, but I think everyone is nauseated by the amount of just job postings. So the different approach is obviously in talking about the people that work for your company and them as the differentiator. So what I’ve been working with is a couple tools. One’s called Fliplingo, which is a really amazing tool. It is, if you’re familiar with IFTTT or Zapier, it takes your post, but the difference is it allows a human translator to take that, translate it natively into any language and repost it so for our Mainland Chinese followers on Weibo or WeChat, these are really popular platforms on those sites.

We want to stick to them in their native language and that allows us a human translator to post it at the right time of day, kind of drip feeds it in but we’re re-using some of the same content that we’re already creating here for the Americas.

Jeremy: Wow, okay, so it sounds like the initial conversation we typically hear when we talk about branding is how do you brand? And you touched on the fact that obviously one of the best ways to do that is let your employees speak. But now you’ve taken this beyond. And so I assume your role in this is a lot more the technology behind the global employment brand. So Flip Lingo is one of the hacks you’ve come up with that is helping you guys kind of spread it around the globe, take it outside of the U.S. and get it around the globe. What other . . . a lot of people talk about the philosophy behind employer branding, how to get your people to do the branding for you and how to share what your employer brand is. Let’s assume that we’ve made those decisions. What other technologies would you recommend that people use to help spread your employment brand once you’ve established what it is and how you’re going to present it.

Aaron: That’s a great question. I mean it’s still the rubber meets the road is we still get to the point where we’re encouraging our hiring managers to just do something as simple as to post to LinkedIn. If they haven’t done it in the last three months, since LinkedIn always changes it and moves the button, I’ve spent a lot of time just educating them on that. And then I go back a day later and I can share that post with my followers and I have somebody else do the same thing. So we just encourage as much participation from the highest levels as possible if they’re willing to do so. And that’s hands down the best way because rather than me posting about the job, I’ve had hiring managers say it’s great working. I have a need in this market for this position, reach out to me directly. That immediately . . . They’re not posting twice a day like some recruiters are so it gets a much bigger impact and then it’s a measurable thing because there are ways to track it.

The analytics built into Twitter now that are free, just go into analytics.twitter for your account. There’s some really good data there. So definitely worth using if you’re not using that. We haven’t started using Twitter cards or anything like that, but it’s something that we’re taking a look at. And we’re trying to do it as a group of people rather than one person being responsible for it. So it’s been delegated to a few people. It’s a small project so it’s a much more manageable thing in that way. So we’ve been successful in doing it and obviously benchmarking ourselves to our competitors in our space because we’ll never be a Zappos. We’re not a household name. Yet, we can still compete at a high level.

Jeremy: Aaron, I really appreciate your insights today. I think this is all great information. Now how can people reach out to you. If you’ve touched on something they want to know more about, what’s the best way for them to get in touch with you.

Aaron: I’m always available on Twitter, LinkedIn. I’m starting to feel more comfortable with Facebook as a business tool. But I’m definitely reachable. I love answering questions on the SourceCon.QA site. I love just engaging with people about this. I know what I’m doing is the bigger spectrum of things so I’m not touching people on a daily basis on the phone. But I’m glad to take anyone’s call.

Jeremy: Well, good deal Aaron. I appreciate your time and I’m sure everyone else does. So thank you very much and if you think you have something interesting to share with the SourceCon audience and you want to participate in one of our podcast episodes, please feel free to reach out to me. My Twitter handle is @imJeremyR or you can reach out to me at @SourceCon on Twitter.  I look forward to future conversations with all of you. Thank you.

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